According to Kyodo News Agency on August 10, in the white paper of 2018, there is a chapter devoted to Japans security cooperation with countries other than its closest ally, the United States, with South Korea ranking second behind Australia. However, according to the draft defense white paper in 2019, South Korea has fallen to fourth place, behind Australia, India and ASEAN.
In fact, [this order] means [South Korea] downgrading, said the person from the Ministry of Defense. The white paper is expected to be published around mid-September this year.
The draft white paper urges the Korean government to properly address Japans concerns and cites recent events, such as the alleged targeting of a Japanese Self-Defense Force aircraft flying in Japans exclusive economic zone by a fire-control radar of a Korean destroyer in December last year.
Reported that since last year, bilateral relations have deteriorated sharply as a result of a series of rulings issued by Korean courts requiring Japanese enterprises to pay compensation to Japanese wartime laborers who were forced to colonize the Korean Peninsula between 1910 and 1945. In addition, there are disputes over trade between the two countries.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that lack of mutual trust is the biggest problem facing Japan-ROK relations. The Japanese Government maintains that the issue of compensation has been resolved under the bilateral agreement reached in 1965. Since the ruling of the Korean court, Shinzo Abe has avoided meeting with South Korean President Wen Youyin.
The dispute has also spread to the military sphere. South Korea now threatens to consider ending its military intelligence sharing agreement with Japan and decides whether to extend the deadline for the agreement by the end of this month.
According to Japan Economic News on August 10, US Defense Minister Esper, who is visiting South Korea, held talks with President Wen Jae-yin on August 9. The two sides reaffirmed the importance of cooperation between Japan, the United States and South Korea. Esper asked South Korea to maintain the Japan-South Korea Military Intelligence Protection Agreement, but it seems that no progress has been made, after the South Korean domestic voice to abolish the agreement.
This is Espers first visit to South Korea since he took office as U.S. Defense Secretary in July. The biggest aim is undoubtedly to manage the security cooperation between the United States, South Korea, Japan, the United States and South Korea, which has been pointed out to be wavering.
One of the issues that Esper attaches great importance to is the Military Intelligence Protection Agreement. However, according to sources at the presidential palace of South Korea, during the talks with Wen Jae-in on August 9, the two sides did not make progress in extending the Military Intelligence Protection Agreement.
In 2016, the governments of Japan and South Korea signed the Agreement on the Protection of Military Intelligence, which realized the sharing of defense secrets. Until 24 August, a country will automatically postpone for one year as long as it does not unilaterally apply for the annulment of the agreement.
Reported that South Koreas calls for the abolition of the agreement mainly come from supporting Wens radical reform forces, but within the government still advocates the mainstream view of maintaining the agreement. Others want the military agreement to be dealt with as a diplomatic issue in order to encourage the United States to intervene in the opposition between Japan and South Korea.
The aftermath of Japans and South Koreas rivalries was also reflected in Espers earlier talks with South Korean Defense Minister Zheng Jingdou. At the beginning of the talks, Zheng Jingdou criticized Japan and said, Japan has carried out economic retaliation on the grounds of security issues, which has had a bad impact on security cooperation.
Source: Responsible Editor of Reference Message: Lin Zhiheng_NY9285